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Wednesday, May 13, 1998 Published at 19:18 GMT 20:18 UK


Fans crown Shearer Angel of the North
image: [ Around 25 Newcastle United fans put the 29ft x 17ft shirt on the Angel ]
Around 25 Newcastle United fans put the 29ft x 17ft shirt on the Angel

Real Video : Reporter Richard Wells examines Shearer adoration
Newcastle United fans have played a spectacular tribute to their hero Alan Shearer by hoisting a replica of his shirt onto the 65ft statue of Tyneside's Angel of the North.

In a daring dawn raid, a giant-sized replica of the striker's number nine shirt was draped across the chest of the statue, on the A1 at Gateshead.

[ image: Loyal supporter Raymond Austin:
Loyal supporter Raymond Austin: "Just for fun"
The shirt stayed up for 20 minutes until police arrived at the scene.

A combination of fishing line, rubber balls and catapults wielded by around 25 people managed to radically redesign Anthony Gormley's metal creation.

Raymond Austin was among the group of faithful fans who chipped in £100 each for the £1,000 shirt, and carried out the stunt with the 29ft by 17ft piece of black and white striped nylon.

Reporter Richard Wells asks Raymond Austin and David Hall about their inspiration (1'11")
"About 25 of us with kids and wives came along at 6am one Sunday morning and just put it up," he said.

"We used catapults, fishing line and rope to pull the shirt over the wings of the Angel."

[ image: Anthony Gormley's Angel of North laid bare]
Anthony Gormley's Angel of North laid bare
The incident on the Angel happened two weeks ago, but the group of fans have kept it quiet to coincide with Newcastle's date with Arsenal in the FA Cup Final on Saturday.

"We thought it has to be decorated in black and white especially with Wembley coming up," added Mr Austin.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police warned against any similar stunts: "While understanding the enthusiasm generated by Newcastle's progress to the Cup Final, we would take a very dim view of anyone climbing on the Angel or putting themselves and others in danger with any similar stunts."

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